In the remote and isolated villages of Rajasthan, women and girls are being made vulnerable daily by having to walk miles to fetch water. This puts them at risk of illness and assault. While the women walk these perilous distances, families living near the famous Sambhar Salt Lake are still being forced to drink contaminated ground water as they face an increasing shortage due to changing rain patterns, rapid desertification, but also as the salt lake has salinized the groundwater supply for many kilometres around. In the most arid areas of the desert some villages may only have 5-8 days of rain a year.
Pinki, a 15-year-old girl from Bhojpur has been forced to leave school to collect water for her entire family who are too ill or working to pay their debts to do it themselves. Pinki must walk around 12 km a day to fetch water under the hot sun with no forms of shade to protect herself. This groundwater has dangerously high levels of fluoride and salinity, causing fluorosis, which can result in permanent damage to bones and teeth.
“Time and time again, I get sick with fever, pain in my jaws, unable to clench my fists, swelling in my legs and hands.” – Pinki
(Pictured: Pinki and her family.)
This could all be changed with the help of a family roof rain water harvesting system (RRWHS) which would mean women and girls like Pinki would no longer have to leave the safety of their homes to fetch water. These RRWHS are designed on the basis of a successful previous project, using roof run-off calculations to maximise water yield.
While women carry this heavy burden as water providers, they are still excluded from decisions about water use, its distribution and management. We are working in Charasada, Chappya, and Bhojpur, where women, will be encouraged to play a key role. Local enthusiastic and dedicated women will be elected to the Pani Panchayat (Water Council) as Rak Sakhi (Water Friends). Women will be motivated by our support system to get involved in the decision making surrounding water issues within their village, thus reducing inequality within the Water Council and raising awareness of good sustainability practice.
We will be working to empower women as they will be at the forefront of our project; overseeing planning, identifying problems, and monitoring project intervention. Women will also be encouraged to make decisions in the household thus gaining increased equality within the family. A Jal Kosh (water fund) will be developed for the project to pay for maintenance of assets and replacing filtration systems.
With your help, the Monsoon Promise appeal will directly benefit 120 families who will be able to access safer and sustainable water along with improved sanitation practice throughout the year. Help us to unlock the potential of a brighter and happier community.
A roof rain water harvesting system is a promise of a better future but only if we can provide them …
If women and their families are able to effectively capture the monsoon rains they can:
- Gain personal safety with water at home.
- Gain better drinking water that improves health.
- Gain freedom to go to school and spend time with the family.
- Gain income and reduce crippling poverty.
- Gain independence and equality in the community through Water Councils and Self-Help Groups.
WaterHarvest has promised to provide 720 people with 120 life-changing roof rain water harvesting systems which cost £280 each.
Can you help?